The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed the Chandigarh administration to consider lowering the height of check dams in Sukhna Lake's catchment area, filled to the brim in monsoon, at least by two feet so that water could flow into the Sukhna Lake.
However, replying to the queries raised by the high court on Thursday, the Chandigarh administration informed that there was no scope of having extra water in winter for pouring into Sukhna Lake.
Chandigarh's senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal submitted the information during the resumed hearing of an ongoing case before the division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain.
During the arguments, senior advocate Rajiv Atma Ram informed the bench that in a visit to the catchment area on Thursday, he found a number of water bodies/check dams filled with 20 feet water and that was the only reason that water was not coming to the lake. He also placed the photographs of those check dams before the bench. Advocate Tanu Bedi, amicus curiae (friend of court) informed the court that there were at least 190 water bodies in Sukhna's catchment area.
However, Kaushal informed the court that 87 million gallons per day (mgd) of water is available with Chandigarh, out of which 67 mgd is canal water and the rest comes from tubewells. He further added that 160 mgd of water is required in summer for distribution to city residents and to cater the demand, the administration has to reduce the supply of water.
In winter, the administration stops drawing water from tubewells so that the ground water level is maintained and only canal water is used. Hence, there was no extra water left in winter to the poured into the lake.
But the bench directed the standing counsel to file a detailed written reply by Wednesday on the actual water requirement of Chandigarh in summer and winter, the source of supply and whether there was still any scope of some extra water in winter.
Rajiv Atma Ram also requested the bench to pass the directions that the storm water in monsoon should be channelised into Sukhna Lake as the city's storm water causes flood like situation near the airport and Air Force station.
On this, Kaushal responded that it was because of the topography of the city that all the storm water moves towards the airport, situated in south of the city and was difficult to channelise into Sukhna. But the storm water coming from IT Park side could be diverted towards the lake, he said.
The case would now come up for hearing on September 19.